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U.S. coronavirus aid talks imperiled amid Republican opposition

CoronavirusOct 20, 2020 09:56PM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduces legislation in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington in October 2020 2/3

By Susan Cornwell and David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House and Democrats in the U.S. Congress moved closer to agreement on a new coronavirus relief package on Tuesday as President Donald Trump said he was willing to accept a large aid bill despite opposition from his own Republican Party.

With just two weeks until the U.S. presidential election, Trump signaled a willingness to go along with more than $2.2 trillion in new COVID-19 relief, a figure Democrats have been pushing for months.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, publicly said he would bring up a deal if one is reached by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and approved by the House of Representatives.

But he provided no timetable and privately has told his fellow Republicans that he did not favor a deal before the Nov. 3 presidential and congressional elections, a senior Senate Republican aide told Reuters.

Holding a vote on a costly new package of aid could prove politically difficult for some Senate Republicans running for re-election in conservative states.

Nonetheless, Trump, whose prospects for re-election are in doubt, tacked in the opposite direction.

"I want to do it even bigger than the Democrats," Trump said in an interview with Fox News, as talks between Pelosi and Mnuchin continued.

Pelosi, speaking to reporters after a mid-afternoon call with Mnuchin, was asked about prospects for a legislative package by the end of this week. "I hope so. That’s the plan," she said.

In a letter to her fellow Democrats on Tuesday evening, however, Pelosi made no mention of wrapping up the battle by week's end. "I remain hopeful that we can reach an agreement before the election," she wrote.

Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said that a 45-minute call between the speaker and Mnuchin was productive "as they move closer to an agreement."

Hammill said on Twitter that negotiations would continue on Wednesday.

The White House has proposed $1.8 trillion in coronavirus relief, while Pelosi is pushing for $2.2 trillion.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Pelosi said aid to state and local governments and Republican demands for liability protection for businesses remain sticking points. But she suggested the Democrats could find grounds to agree on liability protections if the administration agrees to eliminate certain language sought by McConnell that she believes would overshadow protections for workers.

Senate Republicans have repeatedly stated their opposition to additional COVID-19 relief spending near the $2 trillion mark, focusing instead on smaller initiatives. As negotiations heated up, several were wary, non-committal or just plain negative about aid totaling $1.8 trillion or more.

"I think it's very unlikely that a number of that level would make it through the Senate, and I don't support something of that level," Senator Mitt Romney told reporters. "Something far more targeted to the people who really need help, I'd like to see done, and I'd like to see done as quick as possible."

FALL IN LINE

Trump predicted that Senate Republicans would fall in line if a broad bipartisan deal is reached. He also said he would be willing to accept a deal passed mainly with Democratic support.

"Not every Republican agrees with me, but they will," he said. Trump added he specifically expects support from McConnell: "He'll be on board if something comes."

Pelosi and Mnuchin have been negotiating intermittently since August on a fresh plan to aid Americans slammed by the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 8.2 million people in the country, killed over 220,000 and thrown millions out of work. Any new stimulus would be in addition to $3 trillion in relief that Congress approved earlier this year.

The head of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Sara Nelson, sent a letter to members of Congress on Tuesday urging action before the election.

"Now is the time. There is no retroactivity that Congress can apply to the human toll caused by delayed relief," she said. More than 32,000 airline workers have been furloughed while awaiting another round of aid.

The Senate also plans to vote on Wednesday on a $500 billion-plus Republican proposal to include unemployment benefits and aid to schools. It would provide people with $300 in supplemental federal weekly unemployment benefits, while the Democrats want to return to the $600 weekly level in the measure approved earlier this year.

Democrats blocked a similar Republican proposal last month, and the measure on Wednesday is also expected to fail.

U.S. coronavirus aid talks imperiled amid Republican opposition
 

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Comments (53)
Tim Mcdaniel
Tim Mcdaniel Oct 21, 2020 6:25AM ET
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reuters is globalist Democrat anti american
Tim Mcdaniel
Tim Mcdaniel Oct 21, 2020 6:22AM ET
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mask at home forever. that's what's happening.
Tim Mcdaniel
Tim Mcdaniel Oct 21, 2020 6:21AM ET
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COVID is a hoax
Plopseven Schwartz
Plopseven Schwartz Oct 21, 2020 2:49AM ET
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Markets can’t survive without heroin - got it
Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon Oct 21, 2020 12:10AM ET
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dems will pass much larger welfare and bailouts after winning everything come January. To the likes weyve never seen before. they will have total control
ishak ahmad
ishak ahmad Oct 20, 2020 11:41PM ET
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the same news ,,,been 2 days,,, got 10 @ 20 new words,, wth,,, don't update their time cos u got no new news ,,, been reading this so called updated "30min ago" for 2dys. &_$#_&-_##_
Rambi Zambi
Rambi2019 Oct 20, 2020 10:59PM ET
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Its is very big stimulus , tighten your seat belt, after passing this democrats are thing to get vote from the voters.
KH LEE
KH LEE Oct 20, 2020 10:58PM ET
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Last 1 hour... What's the story now?
Edward Chong
Edward Chong Oct 20, 2020 10:58PM ET
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story : extend talks again. day after day same excuse. i m also falling asleep.
YC Teng
YC Teng Oct 20, 2020 10:24PM ET
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Art of negotiation by Nancy. Phantom deadlines to push through higher stimulus...
Sattar Langary
Sattar Langary Oct 20, 2020 10:13PM ET
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What happened to the deadline today?
James Miller
James Miller Oct 20, 2020 9:31PM ET
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If Trump wins, they will hang Nancy out to dry and she will be all washed up!! She will be thrown under the bus!!
Tracy Lee
Tracy Lee Oct 20, 2020 9:31PM ET
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This is a Big If. The opposite may be more likely.
Jeff Gordon
Jeff Gordon Oct 20, 2020 9:31PM ET
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Trump win? no chance of that
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Oct 20, 2020 9:15PM ET
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Anyonget? Noun = The insatiable desire to want to vomit on the current POTUS’s shoes.
Kenny Fejeran
Kenny Fejeran Oct 20, 2020 9:14PM ET
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Shutdowns around the country are going to lead to higher unemployment,more civil unrest, an increasingly significant amount of uncertainty amongst middle class americans wondering how they are going to keep the roof under their families heads and all Pelosi is thinking about is how much she wants to bail out these incompetent democratic run cities with the VIOLENT!!! protests that has consumed them trying to defund the basic RULE OF LAW AND ORDER!!! Shame on you.President Trump is here and wiil Drain the Swamp when he is reelected. Your distractions trying to impeach him willhave severe consequencs 10 fold (You will all be out of a JOB!!!).
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Oct 20, 2020 9:12PM ET
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Donny Boy Trump = Sleaziest person to have ever occupied the White House. Except perhaps Rudy, who I believe visited a time or two. Yes, Rudy, the man at the NYC helm on 9/11. Nice job, Rudy!
Brandon Guthrie
Brandon Guthrie Oct 20, 2020 9:12PM ET
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u must not have heard of Nixon....
Bill Hoerter
Bill Hoerter Oct 20, 2020 7:51PM ET
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They can't afford to wait anyonget. Joe is a lost candidate hiding in the basement. Nancy now hoping to get anything she can for the bankrupt cities.
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Oct 20, 2020 7:51PM ET
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Anyonget? Noun = The insatiable desire to want to vomit on the current POTUS’s shoes.
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Oct 20, 2020 4:13PM ET
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'Trump said ..' __ Please get Trump out of your head! Most of us know that he is an i...t. There is very plausable reason to suspect that COVID came about or that the big stimulus came about in order to drive those REGN gains into the stratosphere. A potus pounding his chest on health issues and growing stockmarket while being greedy to the sky might aswell have manufactured all this ev. il. -- Show me anyone who can listen to Trump being interviewed and asked reasonable straight forward question and not feeling like ready to pu ..ke. Man, I can not listen for more than 60 seconds to Donnie being interviewed. His supporters must have ulterior motives for putting up with all the me. ..ss that comes out of Donnie's inside. Donnie's inside is daily night ma. 're
Ray Castello
Ray Castello Oct 20, 2020 4:13PM ET
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Trump delusion syndrome!
Clinton Powell
Clinton Powell Oct 20, 2020 4:13PM ET
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Do you drink Chris?
Silverbug 19
Silverbug 19 Oct 20, 2020 4:04PM ET
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no bailouts for bankrupt run cities
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Oct 20, 2020 4:04PM ET
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You're missing the point big time Silverbug 19. USA is not getting anywhere reasonable until the lower and middle class are SOLID, healthy and keep paying taxes, coz the upper class ain't paying taxes, as you can see in Donnie's case. You in particular, Silverbug 19, you're gonna be stuck with coughing up your hard earned income tax to support $750/year 'tax payers' like Donnie until his bitter end, and then for his wife, while all of them keep cheating the sleeping IRS and SEC .. rofl, lmao ..
james decarvalho
james decarvalho Oct 20, 2020 4:04PM ET
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ya, death to america
Jay Sims
Jay Sims Oct 20, 2020 4:04PM ET
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Actually Chris, you're missing the point. The Senate is passing legislation for small businesses and the unemployed. Targeted effective stimulus to the people, not bailing out cities that were run poorly even before the pandemic.
James Pattison
James Pattison Oct 20, 2020 4:04PM ET
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Chris Sundo you do know biden sheltered his income from taxes also right? All rich people do it... Biden is worse than trump... hes a 74yr washington swamp creature... and his son has been using his dad to cash checks as Biden used foreign policy to enrich his som, his brother, hos sister, and himself... at least admit its true and them vote for socialism but at least be honest with yourself
Tom Romero
Tom Romero Oct 20, 2020 4:04PM ET
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James Pattison  Literally NO ONE is worse than Trump has been.  He's shown himself over and over to be incompetent, corrupt, and immoral....and you're gonna say Biden's  the swamp....good luck with that.  You shrill Trump supporters better learn to live in the real world.
Jérémie Ponseel
Jérémie Ponseel Oct 20, 2020 4:03PM ET
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They want to Stimul US
Jérémie Ponseel
Jérémie Ponseel Oct 20, 2020 4:00PM ET
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They could agree on a 10Trillion stimulus package that would be coooool
Dugan Webb
Dugan Webb Oct 20, 2020 12:54PM ET
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Bi Den is a racist Profiteer! Poor kids are just as bright as white kids!
gary Gould
gary Gould Oct 20, 2020 12:16PM ET
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just how out of touch can America get .....your right about the civil war ..its what that jack ****has been aiming for since day one .....enjoy the racism and segregation ....
Matt Kay
Matt Kay Oct 20, 2020 12:16PM ET
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Ed Crain  This guy lost it. Willing to go ****people for mango. Report him.
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Oct 20, 2020 12:16PM ET
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Very much, gary Gould, Americans CAN GET OUT OF TOUCH very much, as we have seen. Americans truly LOST IT, man. Unbelievable. I know why: Education! -- The reds/GOP has for decades let the country run into a s..t pile by syphoning money that should have gone to education and build out a solid infrastructure to build a solid future on: into the upper crust. Very short-sighted. Look at South Korea as a model citizen of the world. They go crazy over education and they were the first to get a SOLID handle on COVID. -- And now, guess what? -- After people have received the flu shot there, in South Korea, some ultra healthy seniors died within 24 hours of getting the flu shot, VERY MUCH SIMILAR TO THE FLU SHOTS ISSUED IN THE SPANISH FLU of 1918, a situation that was brushed under the carpet by the medical community: Ask a doctor whether they're taking the flu shot. No, not a flu shot coz flu hasn't gone away, and coz you can die. Doc's know these things but they ain't tell 'ya.
Ave Joe
Ave Joe Oct 20, 2020 12:03PM ET
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Hunter Biden Prosecution Trial etc... incoming
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Oct 20, 2020 12:03PM ET
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TRANSPARENCY is MANDATORY whether you're the new potus's son or the incumbent potus. -= NOBODY is above the law unless you're a commie with commie connections or Lukashenko or a member of the autocrat communities of the world including the PM of Singapore or the womanizer king of Thailand who has been holed up with his harem of 20 women in a hotel in germany.
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Oct 20, 2020 12:03PM ET
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-- in case I wasn't clear -- without TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY there won't be progress and blockchain gains won't be crystalized until Transparency and Accountability have had a solid proving and experience. Get THAT through your head !!
Jack Galloway
Jack Galloway Oct 20, 2020 12:02PM ET
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Pandemonium
Darryl Allen
Darryl Allen Oct 20, 2020 11:35AM ET
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If Democrat governors would open their economies we wouldn't be having this problem
Mo Ce
Mo Ce Oct 20, 2020 11:35AM ET
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how dare you speak the truth
Victor Menken
Victor Menken Oct 20, 2020 11:24AM ET
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Last chance for our president.He has to push it to the limit this time.
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Victor Menken
Victor Menken Oct 20, 2020 11:24AM ET
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You are typical Trump hater))
Plopseven Schwartz
Plopseven Schwartz Oct 20, 2020 11:24AM ET
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Victor Menken The overwhelming majority of the world hates him.
Victor Menken
Victor Menken Oct 20, 2020 11:24AM ET
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Plopseven Schwartz if you were a businesman you would defineltely understand the reality
James Miller
James Miller Oct 20, 2020 11:24AM ET
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Nope he’s going to make Nancy look Nasty on this one!!
James Miller
James Miller Oct 20, 2020 11:24AM ET
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When the S&P are up for the year going into an election, the incumbent wins 87% of the time!! Trump is stringing Nancy along until the election to keep the market up!! There wont be a stimulis before Nov 3rd!
 
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